Flat earth theory

The not-infrequent ruling that a hard standing results in a loss of openness in the green belt and is therefore inappropriate development must cause some consternation for an appellant who is wondering how, when it’s only a few centimetres thick.

The inspector who explained that it is the use of the hard standing that causes the trouble is therefore to be commended (DCS Number 400-015-581). In this case an enforcement notice directed at a hard standing adjacent to a barn on a farm in Surrey was upheld. The inspector acknowledged that the area of hard standing by itself had a relatively minor impact on openness, being sited next to the barn and close to other buildings. However, it had to be viewed in the context of the likely use to which it was put, he said. The hard standing was occupied by several items of agricultural machinery and mobile attachments such as trailers and harrows, he observed. He judged that due to their solidity, height and bulk, they would not preserve the openness of the green belt. The planned storage of haylage on the area would add to the loss of openness and whilst this element of storage would be seasonal, in overall terms he concluded that the effect of the development on the openness of the green belt would be relatively permanent.

That explains it! Perhaps others might follow suit.

The following DCP section is relevant: 4.2513

One Response to “Flat earth theory”

  1. Julian Sharpe

    What is particularly interesting about this case in terms of the application of paragraphs 89 and 90 of the NPPF is that the engineering operation to form the hard standing and use of it for agricultural purposes resulted in a loss of openness and was thus technically inappropriate development. However, the provision of an agricultural building, which would undoubtedly have a greater impact on openness would not be classed as inappropriate.

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